The above video is from the 7th May edition of the popular T.V.talent show “Britain’s Got Talent“.
Now I know what you’re going to say, it’s corny, staged, artificial.. it is produced expertly to wrench every bit of emotion from us down to the way that we are told the child’s life story, see the loving mum with the famous Ant and Dec, doing their supportive bit at the the side of the stage. The YouTube video will go viral and James Hobley, the 11 year old autistic boy who dances around a large stage in front of three celeb judges (Amanda Holden, Michael McIntyre and David Hasselhoff) will gain fleeting fame and may largely be forgotten in a year’s time when they dig out the next child dancer/singer who has recovered from a serious illness and who will dance or sing into our hearts and the YouTube “charts”.
I know all that and yet, as I watched James dance last night… and yes, I am aware that it was not perfect dancing for all you ballet purists out there, I could not help but be moved by the freedom he showed in his dance, the way that he has developed his body to stretch and allow him the movement that many children of his age would find impossible to do. It has probably taken him hours of practice to get to the stage he is already at. He has probably been tutored by some very good coaches.
Notwithstanding all of this he has, without doubt, found his passion. He says in the video that “dancing is his life”.One of the judges tells him that he was “born to dance”. As I heard these statements I immediately thought of Sir Ken Robinson‘s book “The Element” and how finding our passion in life is to release the thing that we truly want to do and we feel happiest doing.
James may never appear at the Royal Ballet. He may not even win “Britain’s Got Talent” (although I’ll venture to bet that he will do very well in the competition) but after all the media hype has gone his dancing, his passion, will remain with him and finding that has been his real prize in life.